Tried and Tested Tips for Setting a Child for Childcare

May 15, 2024 | 10 min. read
Tried and Tested Tips for Setting a Child for Childcare

The transition to childcare can be a significant milestone for both parents and children, encompassing a world of adjustment, learning, and growth for both parents and their little ones. As you navigate this new chapter, it’s natural to seek assurance and guidance to make the transition as smooth as possible.

In this essential guide, we unravel practical, effective strategies that pave the way for a smoother transition. Understanding that each child’s journey is unique, we delve into approaches that cater to diverse needs, ensuring your child feels secure, confident, and ready to embrace this new chapter. Whether you’re exploring child care options for the first time or experiencing the familiar pangs of transition with another child, these insights will equip you to handle this process with empathy, clarity, and assurance for your child’s well-being.

About settling in at child care

Settling into child care is a significant transition that involves a range of emotions for both the child and the parents. It’s a process that necessitates patience, understanding, and a well-thought-out approach. For children, entering a new environment filled with unfamiliar faces can be daunting. It’s imperative that this transition happens at a pace that suits the child, allowing them to gradually build trust in their new surroundings. Open communication with the caregivers is key, as is progressively introducing the child to the child care setting, perhaps with shorter stays initially, followed by longer periods.

What is the importance of settling children?

The process of settling children into new environments, especially in child care settings, holds profound importance for their emotional, social, and cognitive well-being. First and foremost, a smooth settling-in phase fosters a sense of security and belonging, which is crucial for a child’s emotional stability. When children feel safe and understood in their new surroundings, it bolsters their self-confidence and self-esteem, paving the way for healthy emotional development.

Socially, a positive initiation helps children form constructive relationships with caregivers and peers. It lays the foundation for social skills like cooperation, empathy, and effective communication. On a cognitive front, children who have settled well are more receptive to learning. They are more curious, engaged, and open to the myriad of educational experiences that child care offers. Moreover, the importance also extends to parents; knowing their child is comfortable allows them to be at peace, confident in their decision and trusting in the care provided.

What are the different types of child care programs?

Child care programs come in various forms, each designed to meet different needs and preferences of families and their children. Understanding these options is crucial for parents as they make informed decisions regarding their child’s early learning and care. Here are the primary types of child care programs:

Family Child Care Homes

Family Child Care Homes are known for their smaller, mixed-age groups, facilitating versatile social interactions and often more flexible, personalized care compared to larger centers. These setups can provide continuity from infancy through toddler years, with care and educational activities adapted to children’s individual developmental stages. Providers usually undergo specific licensing and regulatory compliance, ensuring a safe and conducive environment.

Child Care Centers

Often larger and more structured, child care centers operate in dedicated facilities with staff trained in early childhood education. These centers can offer a variety of programs, a robust curriculum, and access to resources that support a child’s cognitive, physical, and social development. They’re organized into classes according to age groups, allowing for age-appropriate activities and learning.

Childminder Services

Offering personalized care within the family’s home, Childminder services provide individual attention and continuity of care, essential for a child’s comfort and development. Childminders, especially childminders in the Philippines, may help with various child-related tasks and typically integrate educational activities, maintaining a child’s routine in a familiar environment.

Montessori Schools

Rooted in the philosophy of self-directed activity and collaborative play, Montessori Schools encourage children to take the lead in their learning journey. Classrooms are thoughtfully designed with age-appropriate materials that meet the learners’ unique needs and interests. Educators in this setting act as guides, encouraging children to engage with tasks that foster their development and respecting their individual learning styles.

Special Needs Child Care Programs

Tailored to meet the diverse requirements of children with special needs, these programs offer individualized support, specialized therapies, and inclusive activities. Staff members are trained to understand and manage specific challenges, ensuring each child is respected and given the opportunity to thrive. Backed by accessible childminder fees, these programs emphasize accessibility, tailored learning, and support networks for families.

How can I prepare my child to start in child care?

Start by discussing with your child what they can expect, including the fun activities they’ll do, the new friends they’ll make, and the new place they’ll visit. Encourage their curiosity by exploring pictures or stories about child care experiences.

Before the big day, practice separation by leaving your child with a trusted adult or scheduling playdates without you being present. This helps them get used to being without you for an extended period. Consistency is key, so try to establish a routine leading up to their start date, mimicking the child care schedule with organized activity times, lunch, and nap times.

Visiting the child care facility with your child can also ease the transition. It allows them to explore the new environment and meet their caregivers while you’re still there. When you talk about the upcoming change, maintain a positive tone, and openly discuss any feelings they might have about this new chapter.

Problems with settling-in

Settling into a new child care environment is a significant milestone in a child’s life, and it’s natural for this period to come with its set of challenges. Recognizing potential problems and understanding how to address them can make the process smoother for everyone involved. Here are common issues that may arise during the settling-in phase:

Separation Anxiety

One of the most common challenges faced during the settling-in period is separation anxiety. Children, especially those who have never been away from their parents, may experience distress when parted from their primary caregivers. Some signs of separation anxiety can manifest through crying, clinging, and tantrums, which can be distressing for both the child and the parent.

Resistance to the New Environment

Some children might resist the new setting, refusing to participate in activities or interact with others. This resistance often stems from the unfamiliarity and overwhelm of new faces, routines, and environments.

Regression in Behavior

During times of stress, such as transitioning to child care, children might regress in behaviors — this means they might revert to behaviors previously outgrown, like bed-wetting, sleep disturbances, or eating difficulties. This regression is often their way of expressing a need for security and comfort during a time of change.

Communication Challenges

Young children, especially in new environments, might struggle to articulate their feelings, needs, or thoughts, leading to frustration and potentially disruptive behavior. These communication challenges can make the settling-in period more stressful for the child as they may feel misunderstood or helpless.

Tips on how to help children who aren’t settling at child care

Helping children adjust to child care, especially those who are finding the transition particularly tough, requires a strategic, empathetic approach. Below are some practical tips for parents and caregivers to ease this process:

Establish a Goodbye Routine

Consistency helps build trust and predictability. Create a simple, quick goodbye routine that you follow each day during drop-off. This could be a special handshake, a hug, a wave, or a loving phrase. Keep it positive and reassuring, reinforcing the idea that you will be back to pick them up.

Create Familiarity

Help your child acclimate to the new environment by introducing familiar items. Let them take a beloved toy, blanket, or a family picture to keep with them during the day. These comfort items can help children feel a bit of home in their new setting.

Positive Reinforcement

Acknowledge and praise your child’s brave behavior. If they manage parting ways without a fuss or participate in an activity, highlight these ‘big kid’ moments. Positive reinforcement can encourage a more confident approach to child care.

Encourage Social Connections

Forming friendships can play a critical role in how well a child adjusts. Encourage your child to make friends and, if possible, arrange playdates with classmates. When children form bonds with peers, they often feel more comfortable and excited about attending child care.

Communicate Openly with Caregivers

Caregivers can be invaluable allies in this transition. Constantly chat with educators, ensuring they understand your child’s needs, preferences, and fears. They can help watch for progress and setbacks and work with you to reinforce consistency between care at home and the facility.

What are the activities to settle children?

Settling children into a new child care environment involves more than just emotional preparation; specific activities can ease this transition, making the new surroundings feel safe, fun, and engaging. Here are several activities that parents and caregivers can use to help children adjust:

Familiarity Tours

Before the first day, visit the child care facility with your child. Walk around together, showing them the different areas – the play zone, eating area, bathrooms, and nap areas. Familiarity can reduce anxiety, as the environment won’t feel completely new on their first day alone.


At home, engage in role-playing games where you and your child act out typical daily routines at childcare settings. This activity can include saying goodbye, engaging in play, eating snacks, and participating in learning activities. Role-playing helps children mentally rehearse their new routine, making them more prepared for what’s to come.

Sensory Activities

Participate in sensory activities like play dough, sand and water play, or painting. These activities not only familiarize children with the types of play they’ll encounter but also have a calming effect, helping to soothe anxiety.

Setting a Countdown

Build anticipation and preparedness with a countdown calendar. Mark off each day with your child, discussing one thing they can look forward to for each day until the start of child care. This activity transforms an anxious waiting period into a fun one.

Friendship Building

If you know other children who will be attending the same facility, consider organizing a small get-together beforehand. Making friends before official sessions can create a sense of excitement about seeing their new friends again.


How long does it take babies to settle into daycare?

The duration it takes for babies to settle into daycare varies significantly from one child to another. Factors influencing this period include the child’s temperament, their previous experiences with separation, the age at which they start daycare, and the environment within the daycare itself. On average, it might take several weeks to even a few months for a baby to fully adjust.

Why is being calm important in childcare?

A tranquil, stable environment helps children feel secure and more open to exploring and learning, crucial components for cognitive and emotional development. Childcare providers who embody a calm demeanor are better equipped to handle emergencies or daily upsets in ways that don’t alarm the children. This sense of stability is particularly essential for children in new environments, like daycare, as it reassures them amidst the unfamiliarity. Furthermore, children often mirror the behaviors and emotional responses of adults. Childcare professionals who consistently manage situations calmly are actively modeling effective emotion regulation and problem-solving strategies for the children in their care.

How is your child most easily settled? 

Settling your child, especially in new environments or during phases of discomfort, is often a unique process, as what works for one child might not for another. However, most children are easily settled through methods that provide a sense of security and comfort. Consistent routines, especially during key transition times like mornings, after school, or bedtime, help children know what to expect and feel more secure. Physical comfort, like hugs, cuddling, or even holding hands, can also provide immediate reassurance. Familiar objects, such as a favorite toy, blanket, or pacifier, can be sources of comfort, especially in daycare or away from home. Additionally, recognizing and responding to their cues promptly, whether they’re tired, hungry, or need a quiet moment, contributes significantly to how easily they’re settled.

Embark on a Seamless Childcare Journey with Inna Circle!

Setting a child for childcare doesn’t have to be a daunting ordeal. With the right preparation, a solid understanding of your child’s individual needs, and strategies to alleviate anxiety, the journey can become much smoother for both children and parents. It’s all about the reassurance of routine, the comfort of calmness, and the building of trust between you, your child, and their caregivers. If you’ve used the search term “childminder near me” and is looking for flexible, on-demand childcare services that understand the importance of this transition, look no further than Inna Circle. Our platform offers access to experienced childminder members who are experts in making childcare a home away from home. Sign up today to discover a community that prioritizes your child’s comfort, safety, and happiness, ensuring their first step into the world outside your arms is as enriching and reassuring as possible.

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